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Report: Vince McMahon Paid Donald Trump's Charity $5M; Wasn't Reported as WWE Expense

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 18, 2022

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon paid a total of $5 million to the now-dissolved Donald J. Trump Foundation in 2007 and 2009, per Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann of the Wall Street Journal.

That money reportedly served as a portion of the $19.6 million in unrecorded company expenses that McMahon should have disclosed, per an SEC filing.

According to Todd Spangler of Variety in July, WWE stated in an SEC filing that it planned to revise financial statements dating back to 2019 to account for $14.6 million in previously unrecorded expenses.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the bulk of those payments were in response to allegations of sexual misconduct against McMahon and another WWE executive.

Amid the allegations, McMahon stepped down from the company, handing WWE off to his daughter Stephanie and executive Nick Khan.

However, an additional SEC filing revealed another $5 million in undisclosed McMahon payments, but WWE did not reveal the reasoning for them.

That money reportedly went to former President Donald Trump's charity after he appeared on WWE programs in 2007 and 2009. A total of $4 million was paid in 2007, and $1 million was paid in 2009.

Most notably, Trump took part in the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23 in 2007, when he helped shaved McMahon's head after Bobby Lashley (managed by Trump) took down Umaga (managed by McMahon).

In 2009, Trump was involved in a storyline in which he bought Monday Night Raw before later selling it back to McMahon.

WWE stated in the SEC filing that it had "made a preliminary determination that certain payments that Vince McMahon agreed to make during the period from 2006 through 2022 (including amounts paid and payable in the future), and that were not recorded in the WWE consolidated financial statements, should have been recorded as expenses in the quarters in which those agreements were made."

Matty Breisch of ClutchPoints explained the issue at hand.

"What is a problem, however, is the concept of paying that money without putting it on the official ledgers, as it creates all sorts of tax issues, which isn't ideal for a publicly traded company," Briesch wrote.

The relationship between McMahon/WWE and Trump dates back decades.

The Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, notably hosted WrestleManias IV and V in the late 1980s. Trump was also interviewed by Jesse "The Body" Ventura at WrestleMania XX in 2004. Trump was enshrined in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

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